26 April 2016
In the weeks leading up to the beheading of a Canadian hostage, the Philippines military and police amassed a fearsome presence in Sulu, the province in the country’s deep south where modern-day pirates carry out a lucrative trade in captured people.
At least eight different military battalions, along with police and navy, had descended upon the lawless region in an effort to ferret out a kidnapping ring that has now amassed 30 people, a human prize cache potentially worth millions of dollars in ransoms.
“They are using aircraft, they are using choppers and artillery,” Abdusakur Tan, the Sulu vice-governor who is considered the most politically powerful man in the province, said. He called for a punishing response. “I do not want the government and the people in the whole community to be held hostage by these bandidos, because they will keep on doing this,” he said in an interview.
… “In Sulu, you’re looking at a cultural practice of raiding, kidnapping and piracy that stretches far before the entry of Islam or even the entry of the Spaniards,” said Joseph Franco, a researcher at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies who has worked for the Armed Forces of the Philippines and studied the country’s rebel groups.
CENS / Online
Last updated on 27/04/2016